Seoul stocks hit highest point in more than two years
Korea's stock market extended its winning streak to a sixth straight session to close at an over two-year high Monday, as automakers and major tech stocks advanced on hopes for stimulus in the United States and upbeat data. The won fell against the dollar.
The Kospi rose 34.71 points, or 1.48 percent, to close at 2,386.38, marking the highest since 2,404.04 points on June 15, 2018.
Trading volume was high at about 775 million shares worth some 19.3 trillion won ($16.3 billion), with gainers outnumbering losers 549 to 303.
Foreigners sold a net 130 billion won, while retail investors purchased a net 353 billion won. Institutions offloaded a net 230 billion won, selling for a 10th consecutive session.
The rally came after the Kospi rose by nearly 5 percent last week on hopes for additional stimulus measures in the United States.
"Strong gains by giant automakers have been pulling up the index, adding a favorable atmosphere to the market," Daishin Securities analyst Lee Kyung-min said.
Auto-related shares spiked on expectations of a sales jump at home, and some major tech stocks remained in positive terrain.
Hyundai Motor, the country's automaker, skyrocketed 15.65 percent to a new 52-week high at 170,000 won. Its smaller affiliate Kia Motors also spiked 9.70 percent to 46,350 won.
Hyundai Mobis, the auto parts maker, also surged 6.49 percent to 238,000 won.
Other large caps closed higher in Seoul.
Samsung Electronics gained 0.52 percent to 57,800 won, and chipmaker SK hynix rose 0.99 percent to 81,400 won.
Pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics advanced 0.39 percent to 771,000 won, and Celltrion climbed 0.16 percent to 315,000 won.
Internet giant Naver shed 0.16 percent to 313,500 won, but its rival Kakao added 0.85 percent to 356,000 won.
Chemical maker LG Chem lost 3.49 percent to 720,000 won, and electric vehicle (EV) battery maker Samsung SDI retreated 2.97 percent to 473,500 won.
The local currency closed at 1,185.60 won against the U.S. dollar, down 0.90 won from the previous session's close.
The secondary Kosdaq added 5.13 points, or 0.6 percent, to close at 862.76.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed lower. The yield on three-year bonds added 2.1 basis points to 0.831 percent, while the return on the benchmark ten-year government bond added 2.7 basis points to reach 0.56 percent.
BY CHEA SARAH, YONHAP [email@example.com]